Our holidays have gotten more and more simple, and I couldn't be happier.
Instead of rushing around trying to buy loads of stuff we really don't need, we try to savor time with our kids, our friends, our family - the simple pleasures. Like so many others, a huge part of my family life revolves around food; and with kids home for winter break, we get even more time in the kitchen to play. Whipping up batches of old school sugar cookies, peppermint bark, granola, and candied citrus peel has become a tasty holiday tradition that we all look forward to. Our holiday sweets are not only easy enough for the kiddos to make, they all make for quick, go-to gifts for teachers, friends, or a holiday host. My favorite treat to share is a rich, creamy, homemade caramel sauce with nice hint of sea salt.
How can you go wrong giving the gift of such sweetness?
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
adapted from The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of good sea salt (I added a few more pinches, because I like my caramel salted)
Place sugar in a small heavy sauce pan. Drizzle water evenly over the top. Turn stove top to medium-high heat. Hold sauce pan by the handle and swirl occasionally until sugar has dissolved. (Avoid letting sugar burn until all the crystals have completely dissolved.) Cover pan, turn heat to high, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove lid and continue to boil until syrup turns brown around the edges of the pan. Again grab the handle and swirl syrup occasionally until it turns a deep amber and begins to smoke.
Remove pan from heat. Add butter. Gently whisk, until all butter is mixed in.
Stir in cream.
If sauce become lumpy, set pan over low heat and stir until smooth then turn off heat again.
Stir in vanilla and salt.
Pour caramel into small lidded jars of your choice and top with a cute homemade label or tag. (Please note that the sauce should be refrigerated and eaten within a few weeks. Caramel sauce usually doesn't last more than a few days at our house before it is devoured.)
I love this caramel sauce drizzled over vanilla ice cream or slices of fresh pear. Yum.
Wishing everyone delicious holidays!
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(Images: Erin Scott of Yummy Supper)